Located among the leafy estates of Riverdale, Wave Hill is a former private residence featuring gardens, lawns, woodlands and picturesque views of the New Jersey Palisades. Chairs and resting points dot the 28 acres of this public garden and cultural center. A stroll over the gravel paths reveals, among other delights, greenhouses filled with tropical and succulent plants, vine-heavy pergolas and a white balustrade set against the blue Hudson River.
Two restored houses serve the visual and performing arts programs of Wave Hill. Exhibitions concentrate on the work of contemporary artists inspired by nature. With its mission of connecting people with nature, Wave Hill offers workshops in container gardening, photography, creative writing, plein air pastels and a weekend Family Art Project among its many offerings.
Built in 1844 for lawyer William Lewis Morris, the estate has been home (if briefly) to Mark Twain, Theodore Roosevelt, Arturo Toscanini and others. In 1960, the family of George W. Perkins, who bought the estate in 1903, gave a portion of it to the city. The main house has gone through several transformations and now has a fieldstone façade. The parlor is paneled in Victorian-era teak, and the vaulted Armor Hall now serves as an assembly room and concert hall.
Some weekend workshops are offered in Spanish and English, simultaneously.
Programs for Seniors
Wave Hill’s garden, nature and art programs are popular with senior citizens.
Wave Hill offers programs in horticulture, education and the arts. The Family Art Project often features an artist-in-residence who encourages creative expression in response to new perceptions about the natural environment.
Parents and children can expand their creative and environmental horizons as they make paper, create seasonal decorative wall hangings, design a mini-landscape, make an animal mask or watch for hawks over the Hudson and then make their own feathery creations. Projects change weekly and there is always something to take home.
The Family Art Project is free with admission to the grounds.
School Partnerships Program: A Wave Hill program coordinator meets with school administrators or teachers to plan appropriate investigations that support an existing curriculum. Program listings are student-centered and teacher-supportive. For students, multiple sessions of inquiry-based programs that start in the school classroom and move to natural areas at Wave Hill and elsewhere in the city are encouraged.
Wave Hill offers educators opportunities to reflect on pedagogy and try new methods that help to build curricula. Offerings change with the seasons and focus on particular themes, such as seasons and trees for children in Kindergarten through grade 2; bulb planting for grades 3 and 4; seeds and bugs for grades 3 through 5; land forms for grades 4 through 6; and forestry for grades 7 and up. Several programs are three or six sessions long. These include classes at Wave Hill and in schools plus field trips to other area locations such as Orchard Beach or Fort Tryon Park.
Fees: Single session: $75 per group; 3 sessions: $300-$400 per group